Guest Artist Lecture

John Mortensen, Pianist and Improviser

“What If I Could Improvise?”

John Mortensen

Duncan Recital Hall at Alice Pratt Brown Hall

Guest artist John Mortensen will demonstrate the process of historical improvisation - the spontaneous creation of concert music in the styles of various historical eras - and explain the pathways by which today's music students can acquire this ability. Mortensen is the author of Improvising Fugue and The Pianist's Guide to Historic Improvisation, a Fulbright Scholar, Steinway Artist, and piano professor. For all instrumentalists and singers. 

Free, general admission


John Mortensen

Dr. John Mortensen is a leader in the international revival of historic improvisation. Appearing frequently as concert artist and masterclass teacher at colleges and universities in America and Europe, he is noted for his ability to improvise entire concerts in historic styles, including complex compositions such as Baroque fugues.

He is the author of The Pianist’s Guide to Historic Improvisation (Oxford University Press, 2020), the world’s best-selling book in the field of historic keyboard improvisation, now in use as a course text at many leading conservatories.

Mortensen is a Steinway Artist and an Ohio Artist on Tour. In 2017 he was selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the U.S. Department of State to serve as an international artistic ambassador on behalf of the American people. In 2018 he toured Europe for three months, performing and teaching improvised music at conservatories across the continent.

In 2019 the State Department named him a Fulbright Global Scholar in Historic Improvisation, leading to performances and teaching at the national conservatories of Lithuania, Latvia, The United Kingdom, Denmark, and Canada.

He is the creator of Improv Planet, an online school of historic improvisation, where his students include concert artists and conservatory faculty from across the world.

He serves as professor of piano at Cedarville University. In 2016 he was named Faculty Scholar of the Year, that institution’s highest award.


Duncan Recital Hall at Alice Pratt Brown Hall